Taylor Corley, editor-in-chief
Scarlett Johansson is the latest Avenger to get her own featured film, and Marvel Studios did not disappoint with their delivery. While I wish we could have gotten scenes of young Natasha Romanoff learning the delicate and precise art of Russian ballet, that was quite honestly my only critique.
The movie had a perfect blend of humor, thrill, sincerity and excitement. It also fits perfectly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline and there are no awkward gaps in the story.
But the movie would not be the cinematic masterpiece that it was without the almost entirely female cast. What I appreciated most about the film was the depiction of feminism on screen. If tracked evolution of Romanoff’s attire throughout her appearance in the franchise, her outfits actually become more and more practical over time.
In her first appearance in “Iron Man 2,” the Black Widow wears a tight leather suit, with a very deep neck line and a belt that sags below her hips. Don’t even get me started on how her hair holds a perfect shape and is never once out of place, even after a fight. Even for an Avenger, that standard of perfection isn’t realistic. But she’s a woman in a 2010 movie about superheroes, what purpose was she supposed to serve other than satisfying the male gaze.
Now, flash forward to 2021 and picture this: Black Widow on the big screen in a suit made of flexible material, shoulder pads, a belt that sits properly on her hip and has a weapon holster, and best of all… her hair is in a ponytail.
Not only is this the case for Johansson’s character, but every other female character in the film as well. After a fight scene the women are covered in sweat and dirt, in some cases blood and ash, and their makeup, if they’re wearing any, is even a little smudged.
It’s these small details and the fact that the film does not use feminism to overpower the action-packed plot but rather make the film more realistic without making it solely about being a feminist.
I should also mention that this film, which grossed upwards of $158 million between the box office and home streaming services, did not feature a single male character with a Roman god-esque figure or who attempted to save all the women. Of the two men in the movie, one was a villain, who I might add, spoiler, turned his daughter into a brainwashed, Avenger hunting cyborg and says that girls are the one natural resource the world has too much of, and the other could not hold a conversation that wasn’t about him to save his life; he was funny though, I’ll give him that.
But my favorite part about the new Black Widow movie was that success came without the inclusion of a love story. Instead, the film focused on the relationship and familial bond between Romanoff and new character, Yelena Belova.
Yelena is one of my favorite characters to ever enter the Marvel Universe. Her strength and mental toughness are entirely out matched but what did it for me was the sarcasm. Her character is dry and witty but doesn’t lack emotional depth and all of that is seen on screen. Yelena embodies the complexity of women in real life and compliments Natasha’s character impeccably.
I don’t want to be dramatic, but this was the best two hours of my life. And I won’t deny that me and my roommates bought knock-offs of Yelena’s dangly spiked earrings she can be seen wearing in the movie.